Are you paying your rent with a money order? Are you getting a receipt for each payment? If not, you can find yourself in a world of trouble. Note, those little money order receipts you get with each purchased money order are only good for tracing a cashed money order—they do not, on the hand, hold up in court.
I have many tenants who not only pay with money orders, but who also drop these payments in drop boxes—which means that they don't even receive a receipt for such payment.
Money orders, sometimes, are traceable—but most times, they are not. I have had success in having tenants trace money orders purchased from Amscot and the United States Post Office. However, I have had very little success in assisting tenants to trace them from anywhere else.
Why is this important? Because if your landlord wrongfully files an eviction against you, the law places the burden on you to prove payment. If you can't prove the payment, you lose and will likely get evicted.
Therefore, if you pay with a money order, be sure to do the following (no exceptions!):
- Use a money order that can be easily traced,
- Get a receipt for each money order you submit to your landlord, and
- Complete the “Pay Order To” portion of the money order (to prove who the money order was actually submitted to). This way, if the money order is ever stolen from the landlord or if the landlord has faulty accounting practices, you'll always be protected.